Ann McDonald


Northeastern/BSO Online Conservatory: From Idea to iTunes 

…one of he most compelling examples of communicating the brand and values of an institution anywhere on the Web. By using motion, sound, and highly sophisticated (but beautifully simple) interactive teaching tools, the BSOÂ’s Online Conservatory does more to sell the value of a big-city symphony than any brochure, sell sheet, or TV spot ever could. 

-- The ClickZ Network, 

In February 2003 the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) Online Conservatory educational initiative was first released to the public, an interactive multimedia addition to the BSO website developed by Northeastern University professors Anthony De Ritis and Ann McDonald. It offers browsers an opportunity to explore some of the dimensions of BSO performances, view documentaries on the lives and works of the composers, and learn about the musical concepts exemplified by each piece of music. 

The Online Conservatory has had numerous citations for its award-winning flash-based design, in­structional design, and information technology, including in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Symphony and Newsweek magazines and The Chronicle of Higher Education. Forrester Research cited the Online Conservatory as an international “best-practice” in web-based marketing. In April 2006, the BSO repurposed the Online ConservatoryÂ’s web-based documentaries as video and audio podcasts for iTunes. By June 2006, Gramophone magazine stated that the BSO had already received more than 100,000 downloads. Northeastern University professors Anthony De Ritis and Ann McDo­nald will demonstrate the Online Conservatory, discuss its origin and history, and answer questions about the creative process. 



Ann McDonald, MFA Ann McDonald is an Associate Academic Specialist in Graphic Design and Multi­media Studies. Her research focuses on creating and studying educational interactive projects that can best be achieved through interdisciplinary collaboration. Her clients include exhibit and interac­tive design work for The Boston Symphony Orchestra, The New England Aquarium, and The National Health Sciences Consortium. She studied at the Institute of Design, earned a BFA from the University of Washington and a MFA in graphic design from Yale University. Her design interests continue to stem from a desire to inhabit an information space.

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